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The Devil's Playground

 

"FASCINATING CHARACTERS . . . A MONUMENTAL WORK" TOM BROKAW, NBC News

 

"A WONDERFUL BOOK . . . I COMMEND YOU ON YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF PLACER DEPOSITS" MEL KUNTZ, USGS volcano geologist

About the Author

The Author, his wife, Marge and editor in chief

The Author, his wife, Marge and editor in chief

HOW DID THE BOOK COME ABOUT?

I grew up in inner city St. Louis, the eastern terminus of the Lewis and Clark journey, fascinated by stories of their 1803-6 expedition, and most anything written about western wilderness travel.  There were the seeds, but how did a successful veterinary pathologist come to write an historical novel?

After stints practicing in large animal Nebraska, small animal St. Louis and as vet for the St. Louis Zoo, I enrolled in a graduate program in veterinary pathology at the University of Pretoria Faculty of Veterinary Science.  Word spread quickly among biologists that there was a crazy American nearby with experience immobilizing large wild animals.  I loved every minute of that training and especially the wild jaunts to the bushveld to anesthetize animals for wildlife biologists... Read More

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The Devil's Playground, A Novel of Old Montana and the Creation of Yellowstone Park

BY ROBERT C. BARTSCH (AUTHOR)

$27.93

WHILE THE NATION TORE ITSELF ASUNDER . . .

Old mountain men living with their Indian families, gone native, joined by the Stuart brothers and friend Reece Anderson become the first to seek the New Eldorado of the gulches and mountains. 

THE PROMISE OF A NEW ELDORADO BECAME AN IRRESISTABLE MAGNET . . .

Joined by cavalry and scientists hungry to map and chronicle terra incognita, then swollen by broken eastern armies; gold tugged at men’s souls. The Stuarts became part of a “family” of seekers who saw the promise of a new order if only they could attract civilization.

THE LAST WILDERNESS BECAME THE FIRST PLAYGROUND OF THE PEOPLE . . .

Conquering first; bottomless mountain snows, unrelenting drought, highwaymen, then native populations, the “family” set out to explore Jim Bridger’s wonderland. Few believed the trapper’s and digger’s wild yarns of mud volcanoes and glass mountains. Aided by a railroad tycoon, desperate to sell land and bonds, and a fame yearning scientist, the “family” publicizes America’s Wonderland and works to set it aside for the people’s recreation for all time. 

Editorial Reviews

In this novel, Robert Bartsch mixes the creation of the world’s first national park, Yellowstone, into the larger, deeper, and wilder history of Montana: mountain men, gold prospectors, business tycoons, and explorers, lynch mobs, an Indian massacre, and a grueling survival ordeal in the wilderness all swirl and bubble like one of Yellowstone’s geyser basins.
— Dayton Duncan, author of The National Parks: America's Best Idea, Seed of the Future, and four other books on the American West
This story details the trials and triumphs that both plagued and rewarded early seekers of fame, fortune, and prosperity in the 1860s frontier landscape of Montana and Wyoming. Filled with daring explorations of the frontier wilderness, dangerous encounters with Indians, rugged American individualism, mining booms and busts, banking and financial shenanigans, vigilante justice, and an illicit love affair, this novel will capture and seize your imagination with unrelenting western frontier spirit, Montana’s promising gold rush days, and a host of impulses that would lead to the creation of America’s Wonderland: Yellowstone National Park.
— Elizabeth Watry, Western historian and author of Women in Wonderland: Lives, Legends, and Legacies of Yellowstone National Park